What Do Guidance Residential and America’s Founding Fathers Have in Common?
Imagine you were sitting in a room with Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. The topic of discussion? Banking and finance. If you’ve read their statements, you’d know they all voiced concern about private banks and corporations controlling money and its issuance, and the effect it would have on the people. In fact, if you heard John Adams say, “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country. One is by the sword, the other is by debt”, you would rightly conclude that our Founding Fathers had strong convictions and were concerned about interest, credit and the spending and buying power of consumers.
Now imagine you were sitting in a room with the most notable Christian and Islamic financial scholars of the world, discussing the same issue – only they were quoting passages from the Bible and the Qur’an. For instance, Deuteuronomy 23: 19, “Do not charge your brother interest” or “God has made commerce lawful and has forbidden interest”, Qur’an 2:275. Different room, same principles.
These two examples illustrate the alignment of values between interfaith communities – as well as, to set the scene for the historical foundation of Guidance Residential.
Before Guidance Residential was formed, Muslim Americans who wanted to uphold Shariah, or Islamic religious law, could not participate in the American Dream of owning a home because the pathway to owning a home involved interest, or Riba, which is not permitted. Home ownership is considered to be an essential part of the American dream and leads to stronger, healthier and safer communities. In the spirit of this dream, Guidance set out to create a modern solution to an ancient problem.
In 2002, after a three year, multi-million dollar research and development project involving eighteen law firms and six of the world’s leading Islamic finance scholars, Guidance Residential’s “Declining Balance Co-Ownership Program” was created. The premise of the program is that the client and the company are co-owners of a property, and the client purchases shares over time from the company until they become sole owner. Other advantages of the program are no pre-payment penalties or late fees, and the company, unlike a bank, has no recourse to come after personal assets in the case of default. Not taking advantage of a person or families in hardship is a principle of both the Christian and Islamic faiths.
In 2016, Guidance Residential is now the #1 U.S. Islamic Home Financing Provider, surpassing $4 billion in financing, available in twenty-six states, and has been recognized in major national and international media outlets. The company is the largest corporate sponsor of American Muslim community initiatives – having committed over one and a half million dollars – and the only Islamic finance provider with an independent Shariah Supervisory Board made up of world-renowned Islamic scholars.
All employees at Guidance are united by our commitment to ethical and participatory financial transactions which we believe create societal balance, justice and income equality – in fact, the same principles and values that our Founding Fathers shared.
If you were in the room with Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, or one of the world-renowned Islamic scholars, it would be interesting and surprising perhaps to note how they share similar outlooks regarding banking and finance. The differences, although perhaps vast at first glance, are in many aspects, quite small.